I was wandering through the Union Square Farmer's market (in search of some perfect bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts) and found over three stands selling sunchokes. Which got me curious: what the hell are sunchokes??? I mean, I've heard of them, but I had no idea what they taste like. And the problem with farmer's markets and I are that, I just can't resist. Local dairy farms selling unbelievable heavy cream (trust me)? Why not? A pound of winesap apples? Yes please. Cider doughnuts? Well, ok I say no to those, because they are always disappointing. But really expensive lamb bacon I don't need? Well, you get the picture.
So, in case I haven't mentioned this to you guys before, roast chicken with root vegetables has apparently become my absolute favorite meal. I've roasted two whole chickens in the last month, and while I loved both of them, something was lacking. But I still craved roast chicken. So finally, on a night with a great horror movie on my Netflix queue ("The Thing", awesome) and several pages of my script waiting to be written, I decided to make my own version of roast chicken with root vegetables, with essentially just half the bird.
I bought these chicken breasts from a local farmer at, of course, the farmer's market. At first I was mentally kicking myself for spending almost 10 bucks on two chicken breasts (they were large, in my defense), but after taking one bite, all my suspicions were gone. This chicken was frigging AMAZING. The crispness of the skin, the juiciness of the meat...it took all my strength to not just eat as much as I could hovering over the roasting pan.
Not sure if anyone remembers the glorious day of warmth we had on Monday, but I just couldn't stay inside, no matter how much work I had. Wandered around, stopped by the Housing Works bookstore (a lovely place to peruse, by the way, I became a member and everything), and finally couldn't stop myself from walking into Dean & Deluca about a block away from the bookstore. At $10 a pound these baby octopi looked amazing. The very cute fishmonger mentioned they came in just that day. I was pretty much sold at this point, and because of the fish guy's cute smile. =)
I marinated the octopus first with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper for half an hour. Meanwhile, I set about sauteeing sliced garlic and chopped red onion. When the aromatics are soft and cooked through you should take them out of the pan, as the octopus needs to be cooked on high heat, which will burn the garlic and onions. I, of course in my lazy state, decided to skip this step. Big mistake.
I decided to keep it simple with my cooking strategy. The essential flavoring elements are garlic, onion, lemon and parsley. Even with my several stupid (and obvious) mistakes with this recipe, these little eight legged creatures were still delicious. Which is a shame, as that means I'll just be shopping at Dean & Deluca more, a hobby I simply cannot afford.
If these octopi looks funny, it's because they are covered in flour, which I thought would be nice, and make them crispy while being sauteed. No, do not do this. Only batter and flour octopus if you are going to deep fry them, otherwise your flour becomes a mushy mess in the pan, and you get something that very vaguely resembles a strange, seafood-esque oatmeal. Luckily, when I pushed the breading aside, there was glorious, perfectly cooked octopus underneath. Victory! So those are my two wonderfully indulgent, fairly simple recipes you can whip out whenever you feel like doing something special on a Tuesday or any old weekday night. And please invite me over if you're making roast chicken.